By Joe Hemba
DAMATURU, Nigeria (Reuters) – Suspected Islamist militants stormed a college in northeastern Nigeria and shot dead around 40 male students, some of them while they slept early on Sunday, witnesses said.
The gunmen, thought to be members of rebel sect Boko Haram, attacked one hostel, took some students outside before killing them and shot others trying to flee, people at the scene told Reuters.
“They started gathering students into groups outside, then they opened fire and killed one group and then moved onto the next group and killed them. It was so terrible,” said one surviving student Idris, who would only give his first name.
“They came with guns around 1 a.m. (2400 GMT) and went directly to the male hostel and opened fire on them … The college is in the bush so the other students were running around helplessly as guns went off and some of them were shot down,” said Ahmed Gujunba, a taxi driver who lives by the college.
Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has intensified attacks on civilians in recent weeks in revenge for a military offensive against its insurgency.
Several schools, seen as the focus of Western-style education and culture, have been targeted.
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